Monday, October 29, 2007

Death records of Jews executed by Nazis 

Systematic mass murder of Jews detailed in huge Nazi archive

By Assaf Uni,
Haaretz Correspondent
Mon., October 29, 2007 Cheshvan 17, 5768

BAD AROLSEN, Germany - Twenty days of systematic murder of prisoners in the Majdanek concentration camp are detailed in a thick office binder in the huge archive of Nazi documents in this central German city.

The binder contains hundreds of pages written on both sides. Each one has a table containing the following information: first name, last name, date of birth, address, date of death - all written out in a careful longhand. The blue ink has faded over the years, but the Jewish names jump out. Lists upon lists of towns and cities throughout Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany. In the last column, the date of death, there is not much variety: one of 20 days in September, 1942. The title on the binder reads: Lublin-Majdanek, crematorium list 08.09-1942-28.09.1942.

The lists were apparently brought out of the Majdanek concentration camp after it was liberated by the Russians. On the shelves around this one binder, on the first floor of the International Tracing Service (ITS) complex, are thousands more binders - the original records of the dead at the Buchenwald and Matthausen concentration camps, lists made by the Gestapo of deportees from Holland, who were captured at its headquarters after Germany surrendered, etc. All the documents are cataloged according to the names of victims and survivors, reflecting the efficiency of the Nazi bureaucracy.

This is the largest archive of Nazi documents in the world - more than 33 million pages of records, stored in six buildings in Bad Arolsen, a Baroque town north of Frankfurt. The archive was established after World War II by the Allies, taking advantage of the town's location between Germany's four areas of occupation, and the fact that it had suffered practically no damage from bombardment. It is funded by the German government and operated by the Red Cross. Searching among the 17.5 million names recorded there, staffers assist people seeking information on the fate of their families or submitting demands for reparations from the German authorities.

For more than 60 years, the archive was open only to survivors and their families, international Holocaust organizations, scholars and journalists. Last week Greece, one of the 11 countries who are members of the archive's council, became the last to approve an agreement opening it to the public.

At a time when neo-Nazis are burning copies of "The Diary of Anne Frank," there is significance to one line concealed here among the names of Jews brought to Holland's Westenbork camp on the way to Auschwitz: "Frank, Annelise."

The archive contains four collections. The 'imprisonment list' is the most interesting in terms of the information that it provides. It includes documents from concentration camps, ghettos and prison camps dating from 1933 to 1945. It was copied in its entirety in the 1950s by the Yad Vashem Holcaust Memorial and transfered to Jerusalem, but at Bad Arolsen it's more accessible. It has also been copied digitally in recent years and transfered to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and to Yad Vashem, and may soon be accessible on the Internet.

The second collection contains 'documents from the period of the war,' with information about forced laborers in Germany beginning in 1939, including places of work and illness reports. The third collection, which is the largest, contains 'documents after the war,' with lists of all refugees and displaced persons who passed through Germany and all of Europe after the war. The fourth collection is information concerning lost children.

Inquiries can be submitted by telephone, mail or email. For example, an inquiry about a Jewish survivor of Buchenwald who immigrated to Israel could be answered by a list of deportees from the ghetto, information detailing a certain period in the camp or describing its liberation by the Americans, or lists from transit camps of people immigrating to Israel.

The ITS staff will conduct a search according to name, date and place of birth, and send the results to the inquirer, or invite him/her to the archive to look at the original documents. The ITS promises a response within eight weeks. Last year, it received 800 inquiries from Israel.
Last weekend, in one part of the archive, a book of the victims of the Matthausen concentration camp in Austria lay open on a table, where a staffer was working on an inquiry. The book reveals that on April 20, 1942, in honor of Hitler's 53rd birthday, 53 prisoners were executed. Their names were listed with times of death about two minutes apart between 11:20 and 12:54. Cause of death: 'Shot by order of the Reich defense ministry,' with space-saving 'ditto' markings beneath the first entry.

One of the names that came up randomly in the Auschwitz death book was M. Schlusser, a Jewish locksmith, who died on February 11, 1943. His parents' names and his place of birth were also noted, along with his age, 22, and cause of death: "exhaustion."

"There are apparently no new historical revelations about the Holocaust hiding here," Reto Meister, the ITS director says. "But there is an abundance of private historical information waiting for families of victims and survivors. We want to be a center to which families can come to get answers to the questions that trouble them."

And what does Meister say about the huge collection itself? "There is no doubt that human society has a strong need for order, which expresses itself in the recording of history. What for me is inconceivable is how this need was utilized so horrifically to destroy human beings. The obsessive recording of the Nazis was a kind of terrible way to pretend that something completely ordinary was going on."

The main feeling one gets from leafing through the well-ordered documents with their careful writing is how those 20 days at Majdanek, or those three years of the Final Solution, were truly ordinary for those who inscribed these lists.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Jew attacked in Lakewood, New Jersey 

Orthodox rabbi beaten with baseball bat in New Jersey town

By The Associated Press
Fri., October 12, 2007

LAKEWOOD, New Jersey - A man wielding an aluminum baseball bat attacked an Orthodox Jewish rabbi walking to synagogue last week, critically injuring the 53-year-old man and threatening to strain the already tense ethnic relations in a New Jersey city, officials and residents said.

The beating of Mordechai Moskowitz, reportedly at the hands of am African-American man, has put residents on edge in Lakewood, a diverse city of 70,000 near the Jersey Shore that is home to a large Orthodox Jewish population, as well as black and Hispanic communities.

An Orthodox Jewish middle school teacher was found not guilty this summer of assaulting a black teenager. And a few weeks ago, a group of Orthodox Jews was pelted with eggs by teenagers from another town, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Authorities have arrested no one and have no motive in the beating of the rabbi, police Lt. Joseph Isnardi said.

There's a very, very strong feeling of revulsion and horror that this attack happened here, said Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, who belongs to the council of local Jewish leaders called the Vaad.

Witnesses told police they saw an African-American man walk by Moskowitz and without saying a word turn on the rabbi, beating him in the head and body with the baseball bat. Moskowitz remained in critical condition Thursday, his face disfigured.

Lakewood has seen large growth in its Orthodox Jewish and Hispanic communities, while the black population has shrunk, officials said.

"We have a very large population of Orthodox Jewish residents. And we get our share of spray painting, people riding down the road yelling epithets - all kinds of different things like that," Isnardi said.

Some Jewish residents said Thursday they feared the latest attack would exacerbate long-standing tensions between ethnic groups in the town.

Abraham Sasson, 15, was with a friend who quickly pulled out a flier critical of the police department's handling of safety. Sasson recounted how a woman at an area store had asked him the night before to walk her to her car only about 30 meters from the store.

"She was very scared to walk out by herself. That's part of the reaction of the township against the horrifying attack that took place two days ago," Sasson said.

As he pushed a stroller with his son down the street, 25-year-old Alexander Spira said residents were horrified by the attack. But he also noted there were places in the world that are less safe "People are going to Israel, where people are blowing up buses," Spira said.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The New Anti-Semitism 

Identifying the New Anti-Semitism

by Irwin Cotler

Israel and the Jewish people have been singled out for discriminatory treatment in the international arena -- and worst of all -- singled out for destruction.

This paper was written for and published by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in November 2002.

What we are witnessing today -- which has been developing incrementally, almost imperceptibly, and sometimes indulgently, for some 30 years now -- is a new, virulent, globalizing and even lethal anti-Jewishness reminiscent of the atmospherics of the 1930s, and without parallel or precedent since the end of the Second World War. This new anti-Jewishness overlaps with classical anti-Semitism, but is distinguishable from it. Anchored in the "Zionism is Racism" resolution, but going beyond it, the new anti-Jewishness almost requires a new vocabulary to define it. It can best be defined as the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon, national particularity and peoplehood anywhere, whenever that national particularity and peoplehood happens to be Jewish. In its more benign form (if it can be called benign), it finds particular expression in the singling out of Israel and the Jewish people for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena -- where United Nations human rights bodies are used as the mask or protective cover for this anti-Jewishness (e.g. The 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban). In its most lethal form, it refers to the singling out of Israel and the Jewish people for existential or genocidal assault, as evidenced by the suicide-bombers -- or what I prefer to call genocide-bombers -- since their own acknowledged and asserted intent is the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews wherever they may be -- the convergence of both politicide and genocide.

In a word, classical or traditional anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, or denial of, the right of Jews to live as equal members of a free society; the new anti-Semitism - incompletely, or incorrectly, as "anti-Zionism" (since not all critiques of Zionism are anti-Semitic) -- involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations. What is intrinsic to each form of anti-Semitism -- and common to both -- is discrimination. All that has happened is that it has moved from discrimination against Jews as individuals -- a classical anti-Semitism for which there are indices of measurement (e.g., discrimination against Jews in education, housing, or employment) -- to discrimination against Jews as people -- a new anti-Semitism -- for which one has yet to develop indices of measurement.

Accordingly, what I would like to propose is a set of indices by which we can identify, pour content into, and monitor the nature and meaning of the new anti-Jewishness. These indices are organized around a juridical framework and draw upon principles of discrimination and equality as they find expression in both domestic and international law. There are 13 indices that may serve to illustrate this new anti-Jewishness. As this is in the form of an "alert," they are here treated in a more abbreviated form, but they will appear elsewhere in a more expanded juridical analysis.

Genocidal anti-Semitism

The first and most lethal is existential or genocidal anti-Semitism. I am referring here to the public call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Examples include the covenants of terrorist organizations like Hamas which publicly call for, and incite to, the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews anywhere; religious fatwas -- or execution writs -- issued by radical Islamic clerics, which not only call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews, but proclaim it also as a religious obligation(Israel, then, has emerged as the Salmon Rushdie of the nations); and calls by member states of the international community -- such as Iran or Iraq -- for the destruction of another member state, such as Israel and its people, as evidenced in the statements by their respective political leadership that call not only for the destruction of Israel but also express the intent to use nuclear weapons to accomplish this genocidal purpose.

In a word, Israel is the only state in the world today, and the Jews the only people in the world today, that are the object of a standing set of threats from governmental, religious, and terrorist bodies seeking their destruction. And what is most disturbing is the silence, the indifference, and sometimes even the indulgence, in the face of such genocidal anti-Semitism.

Political anti-Semitism

There are three manifestations of this phenomenon. The discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the Jewish people's right to self-determination which, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, "is the denial to the Jews of the same right, the right to self-determination that we accord to African nations and all other peoples of the globe. In short, it is anti-Semitism..." To the extent that Israel has emerged as the "civil religion" of world Jewry -- the organizing idiom of Jewish self-determination -- this new anti-Semitism is a per se assault, in contemporary terms, on the religious and national sensibility of the Jewish people.

This involves the discrimination against, or denial of, the legitimacy, if not the existence, of the State of Israel. Indeed, it may be regarded as the contemporary analogue of classical or theological anti-Semitism, which discriminated against and denied the very legitimacy of the Jewish religion. In other words, if classical anti-Semitism was anchored in discrimination against the Jewish religion, the new anti-Jewishness is anchored in discrimination against the Jews as a people -- and the embodiment of that expression in Israel. In each instance the essence of anti-Semitism is the same -- an assault upon whatever is the core of Jewish self-definition at any moment in time -- be it the Jewish religion at the time of classical anti-Semitism, or the State of Israel as the "civil religion" of the Jewish people under this new anti-Jewishness.

There is yet another, and third, variant of political anti-Semitism. I am referring here to the "demonizing" of Israel -- the attribution to Israel of all the evils of the world - the portrayal of Israel as the enemy of all that is good and the repository of all that is evil.

This is the contemporary analogue to the medieval indictment of the Jew as the "poisoner of the wells." In other words, in a world in which human rights has emerged as the new secular religion of our time, the portrayal of Israel as the metaphor for a human rights violator is an indictment of Israel as the "new anti-Christ" -- as the "poisoner of the international wells" encompassing all the "teaching of contempt" for the "Jew among the Nations," this new anti-Semitism implies.

Ideological anti-Semitism finds expression not only in the "Zionism is Racism" indictment -- and the singling out of Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and Israel's ideological raison d'etre, for discriminatory treatment -- but the further criminal indictment of Israel as "an apartheid state," and the calling for the dismantling of this "apartheid state" -- a euphemism for Israel's destruction.

If the proclamation of "Zionism as Racism" gave anti-Semitism the appearance of international sanction, the calling for the dismantling of the apartheid state of Israel is even more toxic and virulent, once again giving anti-Semitism the appearance of international sanction. Indeed, the increased characterization or libeling of Israel as a "Nazi state" is tantamount to transforming ideological anti-Semitism into a duty -- the obligation to remove this Nazi state, Israel.

Theological anti-Semitism

This refers to the convergence of state-sanctioned Islamic anti-Semitism, which characterizes Jews and Judaism, let alone Israel, as the perfidious enemy of Islam (in this regard, see the recent publication by Robert Wistrich, a distinguished scholar of anti-Semitism, called Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger) and which finds expression in the proclamation made by Yasser Arafat-appointed and funded Imam, Ahmed Abu Halabiya, from a mosque pulpit and broadcasted on Palestinian state television -- "The Jews must be butchered and tortured: Allah will torture them with your hands. Have no mercy on the Jews... wherever you meet them... kill them." Similarly, the doctrine of Christian replacement theology -- which holds that the Jews have been replaced by the Church in God's favor, so that all of God's promises to the Jews, including the land of Israel, have been inherited by Christianity -- is another expression of theological anti-Semitism. According to this doctrine, an illegitimate Israel has usurped and betrayed Christian theology.

As for cultural anti-Semitism, I am referring here to the melange of attitudes, sentiments, innuendo and the like -- in academe, in parliaments, among the literati, public intellectuals, and the human rights movement -- the discourse of the "chattering classes" and enlightened elites - as found expression in the remarks of the French Ambassador to the U.K. to the effect of, why should the world risk another world war because of "that shitty little country Israel"; or as British journalist Petronella Wyatt put it, "Anti-Semitism, and its open expression, has become respectable at London dinner tables" once more - not just in Germany or Catholic Central Europe.

When it comes to European anti-Semitism, we are witnessing an explosion of European anti-Semitism without parallel or precedent since World War II, whose atmospherics are reminiscent of the 1930s. Some examples, to which I can personally attest to, following my visits to European capitals these past two years, include assaults upon and desecration of synagogues, cemeteries and Jewish institutions; attacks upon identifiable Jews; convergence of the extreme left and the extreme right in public demonstrations calling for "death to the Jews"; atrocity propaganda against Israel and Jews (e.g., Israel injects the AIDS virus into Palestinians); the ugly canard of double loyalty; the demonization of Israel through the escalating ascription of Nazi metaphors; indifference or silence in the face of horrific acts of terror against Israel and the threatening of sanctions against Israel for exercising its right of self-defense against these acts of terror.

In the words of Joel Kotek of the University of Brussels: "One's position on the Arab-Israeli conflict has become a test of loyalty. Should he become a supporter of Israel, he becomes a supporter of a Nazi state."

Denying Israel equality before the law

I am referring here to the singling out of Israel for differential, if not discriminatory, treatment amongst the family of nations; with Israel emerging, as it were, as "the collective Jew among the Nations." Some examples include the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, which turned into a conference of racism against Israel, where Israel was the only state singled out for indictment; the UN Commission on Human Rights, where Israel is the only country singled out for a country-specific condemnation even before the annual session begins, where 30 percent of all resolutions condemn Israel alone, while the major human rights violators enjoy exculpatory immunity; the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, where Israel became the first country in 52 years to be the object of a country-specific indictment, while the perpetrators of horrific killing fields -- be it Cambodia, Sudan, etc. -- have never been the object of a contracting party's enquiry; the systemic and systematic discrimination against Israel in the major decision-making bodies of the United Nations and its specialized agencies; the exclusion of Magen David Adom, Israel's humanitarian aid agency, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; the conversion of refugee camps under UNRWA's management into bases and sanctuaries of incitement and terror, in breach of fundamental principles of international humanitarian and refugee law.

The denial of international due process to Israel and the Jewish people in the international arena refers to the disenfranchisement of Israel in the international arena, where, for example, Israel emerges as the only country denied "standing" in any regional grouping in the United Nations, which resulted in Israel (and Jewish NGOs) being excluded from the Regional Conference in Iran, where the regional Asian position for the World Conference Against Racism was prepared.

"Legalized" anti-Semitism refers to the international "legal" character of this anti-Semitism, in which, in a kind of Orwellian inversion of law and language, United Nations human rights bodies become the mask under which this "teaching of contempt" is carried out. If anti-Semitism is no longer respectable, and anti-Zionism in the form of the "Zionism is Racism" resolution has been exposed as a cover for anti-Semitism, what better mask than human rights -- and the UN as repository of human rights -- to carry out this process of distortion and defamation.

Economic anti-Semitism

This refers to the economic coercion and discrimination practiced through the Arab boycott, which emerges as the contemporary economic analogue of classical economic anti-Semitism.

Classical economic anti-Semitism involved discrimination against Jews in housing, education, and employment; the new economic anti-Semitism involves the extra-territorial application by Arab countries of an international restrictive covenant against corporations conditioning their trade with Arab countries on their agreement not to do business with Israel (secondary boycott); or not doing business with another corporation which may be doing business with Israel (tertiary boycott); or even, in certain instances, conditioning the trade with such corporations on neither hiring nor promoting Jews within the corporation (I was able to document this in the course of my chairing a Commission on Economic Coercion and Discrimination.)

The cutting edge of this new anti-Semitism is in the form of Holocaust denial, which moves inexorably from denying the Holocaust, to accusing Jews of fabricating the "hoax" of the Holocaust, to indicting Jews for extorting false reparations from the innocent German people, to the building of their "illegal" State of Israel on the backs of the real indigenous owners, the Palestinians. Let there be no doubt about it, those who would seek to deny the Jewish people their past are the same people who, if given the chance, would deny the Jewish people their future. Racist terrorism against Jews refers to the state-orchestrated incitement to violence and terrorism against Jews, including the singling out of Israelis and Jewish nationals as targets of international terrorism.

This racist terrorism has been ratcheted up into an alarming case of "mega" or "catastrophic terrorism" as exemplified by the recent attempts to literally incinerate thousands of Israelis by blowing up fuel and gas storage facilities in the Herzliya area and blowing up the Azrieli office towers in Tel Aviv; the attempted use of cyanide poison in a Jerusalem restaurant; the attempted blowing up of residential apartment areas in Haifa; and the recent disclosure of Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda connected plans to target Israeli institutions and Jewish nationals in the Western hemisphere.

State-sanctioned anti-Semitism

This refers to the state-sanctioned "culture of hate" -- integrating both old and new forms of anti-Jewishness -- that finds increasing expression in the incitement to hatred in state-controlled mosques, media, schools, and other institutions, including such recent examples as the broadcasting of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the blood-libel, and the appropriation of symbols and motifs from classical anti-Semitism to demonize Israel and the Jewish people today.

In the words of Professor Fouad Ajami: The suicide bomber of the Passover massacre did not descend from the sky; he walked straight out of the culture of incitement let loose on the land, a menace hovering over Israel, a great Palestinian and Arab refusal to let that country be, to cede it a place among the nations, he partook of the culture all around him -- the glee that greets those brutal deeds of terror, the cult that rises around the martyrs and their families.

None of this is intended to suggest, nor would one wish to have it inferred, that Israel is somehow above the law, or that Israel is not to be held accountable for any violations of law. On the contrary -- Israel is accountable for any violations of international law or human rights like any other state; and the Jewish people are not entitled to any privileged protection or preference because of the particularity of Jewish suffering.

But the problem is not that Israel as the "Jew among Nations" seeks to be above the law, but that it has been systematically denied equality before the law; not that Israel must respect human rights -- which it should -- but that the human rights of Israel have not been respected; not that human rights standards should be applied to Israel -- which they must -- but that these standards have not been applied equally to anyone else.

Israel and the Jewish people have been singled out for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena -- and worst of all -- singled out for destruction.

The time has come to sound the alarm -- not only for Israel and the Jewish people, whose safety and security is under existential threat and attack -- but for the world community and the human condition as a whole. For as history has taught us only too well, while the persecution and discrimination may begin with Jews, it doesn't end with Jews.

Author Biography:

Professor Cotler is a member of Canada’s parliament and its former Minister of Justice. He is a distinguished academic and a prominent human rights lawyer, whose dedication to humanitarian causes has earned him the Order of Canada and many other awards.

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